tv Charlie Rose PBS September 8, 2011 11:35pm-12:35am EDT
>> rose: welcome to our program, tonight an assessment of president obama's speech early this evening can ken rogoff, he is a professor at harvard university, carl slam is the president of the marion kauffman foundation, markham halperin is a senior political columnist for "tim magazine, john heilemann is with "time" magazine and andy stern is the president of the service employee international union and nia-malika henderson of the "waington post.". the president makes his case to the congss and the american people when we continue.
>> rose: this evening, president obama addressed a joint session of congress, he unveiled an ambitious strategy to create jobsnd prevent a second recession. he called upon congress congress to pass a bill immediately and without hesitation >> i am sending this congress a plan that you should pass right away. it's called the american jobs act. there should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation. everything in here is the ki of proposal that's been suppord by both democrats and republicans, including many who sit here tonight. and everything in this bill will be paid for. everything. >> rose: the legislation which l include a variety of measures to boost job growth and stimulate the economy. >> more jobs for construction workers, teachers, veterans and long-term unemployed.
it will provide... (applause) it will provide a tax break for companies who hireew workers and it will cut payroll taxes in half for every working american and every small business. it will provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled and give companies confidence that if they invest and if they hire there will be customersor their products and services. you should pass this jobs plan right away. >> rose: president obama noted that he expects resistance from democrats and republicans to certain aspects of his plan. i also realize there are some many my party who don't think we should make any changes at all to medicare and medicaid and i understand their concerns. but here's the tru: millions of americans rely on medicare in their retiremt and millions more will do so in the future.
they pay for th benefit ding their working years, they earn it but with an aging population and rising health care costs we are spending too fast to sustain the program. i'm also well aware that there are many republicans who don't believe we should raise taxs on those who are most fortunate and can best afford it. but here's what every american knows: while most people in this country struggle to make ends meet, a few of the most afflue citizens and most profitable corporations enjoy tax breaks and loopholes that nobody else gets. >> rose: joining me in new york is ken rogoff, he is the professor at harvard university. carl schramm is the president of the ewing marion kauffman foundation. mardi gras halperin is a senior foundation analyst. from washington andyer the is the former president of the service employees international union and nia-malika henderson of the "washington post." john heilemann i want to talk about in the this way. first about the presentation, is
this the old obama back? has he grabbed the initiative with presentation first? secondly, talk about the economy a bit and then the politics. but the presentation first. >> well, charlie, i think... i mean tonally the most striking thing about it was how direct it was and how feisty it was both in terms ofhe president's tenor was very direct, the catch phrases from the speech tt people will remember are not poetry, they are, you know, "you should pass this right away. m going put this in front of you, if you pass this, this will happen." very consequentialist. and i think because both of the tone and some of the substance which i know we're going to talk about more, it was a partisan speech. that was speech that was designed-- and i think it has, from the what the reaction has been in the immediate moment after the speech-- it was designed to stir up his base. liberals are very happy with this speech right now. again, on the substance and also on the tone of it. he is saying to... trying to put the ball squarely in the court of congress and say we have a crisis, i'm ready to act, if you don't act, it's your fault. and that may may not work for
him politically, but if that was his intention, he certainly achieved that. >>ose: andy stern, what did you think? >> i thought it was a great speech. i thought it was practical, principled and i think the sense of urgency waseally important. but i don't think the speech was given to the people in congress, it was really given to the american people and i think it came across... there are real choices to be made and it's time to make those choices. >> rose: what did you think he had to accomplish? a sense of urgency and a sense that i'm laying out something we can achieve and i'm going to push for it and i need your hope the convince the congress to do it? >> i think that was important, but i think what... it's not just what he said today. i think it's really... the challenge of this administration is what do they do tomorrow and next week? they have to stay focused on this iue. they have to keep asking congress to make a choe and he has to continue to find common ground solutions, including the ones he laid out and some i think select included. >> rose: come back to that. ken? >> i thought it was a phenomenal speech from an oratory point of view. he's a great speaker.
i admit, i don't listen to his speeches. i haven't grown tired of them. people say he's professorial. i'm a professor, i don't really mind that. (laughter) in terms of technique, if that's just what we're talking about even where i didn't agree with him it souned good. >> rose: i'm talking about an overall question of whether this speech did what the president needed to do at this time to seize this issue and change his own presentation. >> well, he's starting from a very deep hole after the debt debacle where he lost a lot of credibility and i think he did the right thing to come forward and even though he said "nothing controversial here" he was, in fact, stating what he wanted to do and hoping people would do it. >> rose: mark? >> i don want to be a about process and pessimism but if i am to speak from my heart and head as the president did i have to say i think this is... this is not the right way to do it as this time. there have been times in american history when that speech on the eve of 9/11
anniversary, when the country in a mood to get things done it would have been very effective. and making the argument to republicans "you guys have vote for these individual things, these are principles that were not anat ma of the republican party, including many ofyou in this room" that would have been effective. the american people are with the president on most of the thing he is talked about. up and down polls, 70/30, in some cases better. the problem remains he cannot get anything done without john boehner's support and if you were on twitter during the speech as i was you saw not just right wing crank but press secretaries for members of the republican leadership were saying this is ridiculous. this is big spending, failed things we've tried before. so he has to find common ground and i don't see how this speech allows them to find common ground. andy stern may want him on the barrices screaming for more, more, more and i think if you believe in keynesian economics, this is totally insufficient. but that is impractical.
john boehner and mitch mcconnell have to be for anything and i don't think they're going to seize on the things... they know the pubc wants to get things done but in terms of this speech leading to what the president wants in his heart the bipartisan solution see that happening at all. >> rose: nia malika henderson, what's your assessment. >> i think in some ways mark is right. you saw almost immediately the presidential contenders come out and say this was more of the same, that it was just stimulus and i thinkwhat he's doing, obviously looking for... forward to 2012 even though he said hey this is 14 months away, this very much tees him up to go out on the road. he deal that tomorrow and go to richmond, virginia, to really sell this thing. i think mark is right in the sense that it wasn't very much bipartisan. it wasn't this idea of, hey, congress, let's work together.
it was more like you should do what i say. you should... i'll put this plan through congress right away and not very much reaching out to congressional republicans. even though obviously a lot of the plans were ideas that republicans put forward before. it wasn't a very... let's come together let's work together and get this thing passed and i think even for some democrats-- there are 23 democrats up for reelection in the senate next year and how can, for instance, claire mccaskill goes go back to her... go back to missouri and say she wants to pass a $450 billion stimulus plan? so i think it's going to be tough n only getting republicans on board but some of those democrats who are also going to be on the ballot in 2012. >> rose: comback to you, andy, with that laugh, for sure. carl? >> charlie, i'm from missouri and... (laughter) from the perspective of the kauffman foundation i just want to assert that we're a
non-partisan foundation, actually quite monastic about this. having said that, i think john's right. the president spoke in very clipped terms which is actually almost non-characteristic for the president. we didn't hear these elliptical round abouts. and he spoke with great passion and i thin andy's right, he spoke right through to the people. but from the perspective of trying to understand the economic analysis, what are the predicates about how you get jobs created? we didn't really hear those. we heard a lot of programs that start jobs but you didn't hear the analysis of the problem. and theit of the programs to the problem is what's the critical issue here. >> rose: what could he have said in that way to convince john boehner? or more than thatt, eric cantor? >> i think... my hunch is that if youanalyze what all those folks keep talking about more and more-- this is my particular
perspective-- it's the question of getti js started and from the analysis perspective this is new firms. the esident spoke of entrepreneurs i think twice and he saidy reference that cutting red tape would help new starps so you can count it three mes. anthere was a fourth time he spoke about entrepreneurs and workers in the same phrase. but the key question if you go back to the premises is new jobs in the united states are created in brand new firms, firms that are less than five years old. and, in fact, some analysis we've been doing at the kauffman foundation suggests that in any economy if you want the single best indicator of g.d.p. growth which is linked inexorably to new jobs, it is, in fact, the velocity of new firm formation and, you know, unfortunately, we had a speech that was lots about big firms-- at least to my ears. >> rose: okay, so if you wanted to make that point and you believe that you could create new jobs by creating new firms,
what is the message, what is the deed that would get that done? what should the president have said if he wanted to create new firms because they provide the new jobs and that provid a stimulus to the economy. >> well, in keeping with the president's theme that people in the congress on bh sides have agreed to. we have to have more people with better ideas coming into the economy. and this may, in fact, mean relaxation of migration for kids who go to study at harvard from other countries, very brilliant kids who would like to start businesses here. we're throwing those kids out. we have to relax the control of universities over intellectual prerty to get new ideas into new firms and get theseideas to become the essence of the new firms. so there are a whole number of things that can go in this direction. >> rose: so if... what was the task the president had to achieve here? >> well, charlie, i'll extend mark's pessimism to answer that
question. look, i think the president and his people understood-- and this answers your earlier question also-- there was nothing that the president believes in that can get passed in this congress. they understood this was a political speech, i believe. i think the president wants to try to fix the problem. if by fiat he could pass a combination of the grand bargain on long-term deficit reduction and the stimulative piece tt he's proposed to, if he could pass that by fiat today he would do that because he believes it would help. he knows that just as i described it it makes it sound absurd that republicans would be bend it. they rejected the grand bargain in the debt ceiling negotiation and they believe the stimulus was an utter failure and now president obama has not proposed a stimulu of roughly the same size, in fact, at $447 billion for one year. that's about the size of the stimulus he enacted in 2009. i ink that what th president was trying to do... i understood this as a political speech and they were trying to frame a choice. the diffulty for them is that many of the things that would
actually solve the problem are things that are not that popular in the country ght now. so he was trying to thread, i think, a very tough needle. you're trying give a speech... if you're giving a purely political speech, you should give a speech that would be broadly popular. but the country not in favor of more keynesian stilus spending so he was in this position where he's trying to lay down as much as anything a "i'm the guy who's willing to do something and these are the guys standing in the way of doing anythin marker to campaign on that for the next 14 months. >> rose: go ahead. nia? >> and he was obviously trying to wrap in the something that everybody can relate to. teachers back to work, school children havin their schools fixed, veterans going back to work. so that was something i think he was able to put this issue in a very imaginable place. people can imagine they probably have teacher friends who may have been laid off or they can go to their kids' school and see they're crumbling. so i think that way he was able to ground it and even in the beginning of the speech i think one of the issues is of these
candidates who run in 2012, who is going to channel the economic anxiety that's out there? a regular working stiff throughout? that's what i think he was able to do very well in the begin thoofg speech but i think as it went on it become a lot more partisan. >> rose: my sense, though, that somewhere there was on a big board in the white house all the points that he felt like h had to take. he had to touch on trade, he had to touch on regulation, he had to touch on productivity, he had to touch on all the groups that he thought sukd show that were trying to offer incentive to people to hire these people so that it was a broadook at a variety of constituencies and make sure republican issues were touched on at least. >> they were and with the movie made on the e.p.a. regulations a few days ago shows that he's taking seriously this notion that too much regulation could hinder economic growth. i hope i'm wrong about my pessimism. i hope this is leading to a path to compromise. the problem is what he proposed
tonight was a... a lot of it was stimulus spending. call it whatever you want but that's what it was. it was the theory that the government needs investments in things, the country needs investments that the government can prime the pump. but then he said "we're gng to pay for it withax increases." that poison it is well more than anything possibly could for the republans and, again, he saved the deficit reduction for down the road. is it fair that john boehner has a veto ovewhat the president wants to do? is in some ways it's not. there's no question you can make that argument. but that's the reality that he faces now. if they're just giving a political speech we deal something in january of 2013 after we win the next election, i don't think as a citizen the country can wait that long to deal with these problems. >> rose: he said that, too. >> i totally agree and i think he said it well that peoe n't wait 14 months. it sms to me the on chance-- if you believe and igree-- that there's nothing he can do at people will let pass the
only thick he can do is reach out and try to create a climate where there's pressure on peopleor than in washington, d.c. to do something. hi think he did an incredibly effective job tonight. he laid out a series of ideas that i think seemed very practical. they adopt many of the things that democrats and republicans have been for and then he basically said "are we going to do something or aren't we?" i think that's the right question. it's right now, it's time ac he was specific and i was pleased. i don't think doing the same thing over and over again that he's done around the debt ceiling and what he did aroun the tax cuts ever worked and why do it again? >> rose: so, andy, you think in this speech the president took the only shot he had, which is to say notwithstanding what... i'll trying-to-appeal to arguments that the republican ha connected to but i've got to say what i stand for and i've got to fight for it because i have no other option? >> i think he did a good balance. on one hd he said this is what i stand for but it's not only what i stand for, it's what
republicans, what you have stood for and democrat what is you have stood for the past so we're not talking about fundamentally new ideas but then he said it's time act and i'm ready to go and if you don't want to go then we all understand where the problem is. >> rose: if the president is successful in this jobs act, will it do the job of creating jobs for america that will significantly imct on the unemployment rate? >> big if if it's successful. but i do think, actually, we do need to slow down t rate stimulus is being taken outf the economy and the fix needs to be in the medium term. admittedly he didn't say much about it, it's going to be well we're going to fix the taxes. we're going do something about social security. congress, youfigure out a way to pay for this. this isn't going to cost anything. it seems like it's going to cost something but you'll figure out some way it isn't. but actually what the economy needs give than we're absolutely in a trough right now is to very slowly withdraw the stimulus
because that's what's going on and try to fix the medium term. i think he had to come out and say what he believed in. i watch him try to compromise and i feel like, you know, the old charlie brown thing where lucy would bring the football out every fall and he would try to kick it and she'd lift it up. that's how it's knelt the debt negoations and my sense-- and i defer to the many political commentators here-- that the republicans have been gaining ground by refusing to compromise. they're not going to. they've been winning and until he gets out there, says what he stands for says what he wants to do. i didn't agree with everything but it's broadly sensible that actually we do need a bit of stimulus to pull it out that quickly. you've got say it and if you can't make the case then you shouldn't be president anymore. he needed to make the case. >> rose: some suggests if he can't make the case he won't be president anymore. how important was this moment for him, john? >> well, this is a very important broadly... not just this moment tonight but this moment right now in american
politics is a very big moment and we're seeing the republican primary race starting to congeal and we're starting to get a sense of what the contours of that will be. people are focused on the political dynamics and also obviously on the level of the intensity of the economic crisis. n a very intense way in the country i think, not just among chattering classes but actual human beings out there. peopleame back from the summer and peoplere hurting and zero job growth in august was a very... a big bucket of cold ice water in the face for a lot of people and the country. and so i think there's a lot of focus right now. people are... the president's position in terms of public opinion is very fragile right now. it has turned and y are starting to see things like his approval rating getting into dangerous territory. 's starting to slip with his base, something they have clearly noticed. for the very fst time. for two and a half years people said liberals are upset with barack oba but it never showed up in the numbe until now. now you're seeing some liberal
disaffection with the president and the president knows that republican turnout is going to be very high in 2012. there must be high democratic turnout for him to win reelection so even a little bit of a loss of liberal enthusiasm for the president is hugely politically problematic for him. so right now this is a moment for him d you could see things rning very bad for him and if things continue in the direction they're turning, that they have in the last few months you could look up in january and he could be in a very bad situation. so better to recommend they now. but politically and substantively than to let things get away from you. >> rose: you don't believe he did and mark doesn't believe he did and that you believe's the consensus of opinion this evening? how many devices do we have here? (laughter) >> i think, as i said before, public opinion is largely on his side alrea. i thk president's analysis of what's wrong... >> rose: but public opinion has no impact on the republican members of congress? >> it appears to not. >> rose: that the reality here? you think this is the most important moment is that there is no... >> it's having a little impact
on them because even eric ctor is talking about the need to compromise and singling out provisions that he might look favorably on. >> rose:ened n reaction to tonight's speech? >> in advance of thepeech. the president's analysis of what's wrong with washingn is exactly right, i think. the president's analysis of past republican support for a lot of these provisions is exactly right. he does not have the ability through personal relationships with the republican leaders, is the ability to leverage public opinion agait them, to move them off their dogmatic positions about what they wa to do. he's... he wants to be a great president and the reason i think this moment is so responsibility he may have to fight this out with no real impact, no improvement in the economy and still get reelected. but he'll probably be reelect with a republican congress and so he'll be president for eight years, the last seven ofhich will be very, very brutal and unproductive. >> i think he needed this moment to really sort of reset his
presidency and really start a new narrative for the campaign trail and his reelection effort in 2012. but i do think one of the things you see about republicans over these last many months is that their strategy of obstructing the present has really worked. the president hasn't notched a win in months and months and months and i think he's gone into all of these negotiations really trying to be the compromiser, trying to avoid conflict. you saw that with the debt ceiling debate. his side came out thinking that this dea was a crap sandwich in the words of... i think it was cleaver who said that. and boehner came out basically saying, you know, he got 98% of what he wanted. i think one of the things you've obviously seen is that there have been some disaffected feelings among his base. you saw recently his approval rating plummeting among hispanics who are really going to be key to his reelection. then you see kind of a robust republican debate going on on the oth side between pry and romney, romney was masterful in
some ways in laying out this 59-point plan, looking like a competent c.e.o. and, you know, while this speech was going on he sent out press releases basically saying this was rehashed, stimulus money and basically saying that this president isn't working, meaning he's not doing his job and he's not working, his ideas aren't working for the country. >> rose: as you mentioned, you're non-partisan. what do you think the perception of the president was going into this and whether this kind of speech could begin to change that perception? >> well, i think perception was that the president declared himself in a way the captain of the economy and in a sense... well, i don't want to speak politically. it's clear to president really had to go do that. and, in fact, in reality it's not actually quite clear the president can have that much impact on the economy in general terms. my sense is right now it's even worse and i might to your point, mark. i think these are different and
treacherous times and it's the nature of this recession, essentially. ken's commented to some extt in his book on this, but there are recessions and then there are recessions and we've had recessions where, in fact, i like to call themnflection point recessions because after that recession we find that we adjusted the economy. i have a thoufrj speak about what you guys talk about in political terms where the republicans have basically said no more spending. there's no way to look at that politically but also people are basically talking about a debt problem and if we can't solve the debt problem we can't readjust the economy. and much of what have the president was actually talking rabbit fundmentals that are changing the economy. he speaks about the broken nature of our schools. he speaks about global competition. he speaks about the changing nature of our technology such that it can't permit us to compete over car sales and so forth. and these are all sortf the
indications of fundamental changes in the economy. and as i said before, i think a sense if the president is going to make himself captain of the econom the first thing to start without is to say, look, this econo that i got stuck with is so fundamentally different, let me explain to you why it's different and maybe in those cases w it is we have to renew or update kind of a keynesian theory. >> rose: but hasn't he been trying to do that? i mean, it seems that's what this entire presence has been about. andy? >> well, i would just say he gave a great speech in georgetown about new foundation. >> rose: that was at the beginning of the campaign, wasn't it? >> right. well, it was... i think it was shortly after. >> rose: his election, right. >> but i do think this raises the exact point. they have not been consistent, they have not en focused, they have gotten distracted, they've gotten inside washington and i think what the president did tonight is to try to reframe a discussion with the american people. and i agree it's not as broad a
discussion about the economy that ultimately needs to be had but really what he was saying is i've tried everything i know how the do in washington, american people. i now have a series of ideas that actually will relieve the suffering. you've taken responsibility for your life, the question is, are we going to take responsibility? and i think the answer is going to be no. and i think president at least is well served if nothing is going to get done by making it very clear what he believes in and why aren't things going to be done? i think he made one area where there's a huge opportunity here and that's the repatriation of foreign revenue that's now overseas. i'm sorry he didn't do it because that's another bipartisan conference of mayors democrats d republicans are now saying that is stimulus that doesn't cost the government. >> rose: why wouldn't he do that? >> because i think they really are committed-- and i give them credit-- to long-term tax reform and i think they feel le it wi get in the way but i thk we are at a moment where taking adntage of that kind of mone in this economy right now would be a big step forward.
>> rose: a lot of corporations talk about this. is it a good idea to get rid of them? >> think the corporate tax needs to be simplified. we have a high rate and a lot of bbyists. >> rose: but they're not bringing the profits home. >> i think that there's plenty of cash in the corporate coffers at the moment, that's not holding back investment and growth in the united states. >> rose: but if, in fact... >> that would be a transfer to corporations. is it would be a tax benefit. i don't think that's such a... i understand why corporations are in favor of it but i don't think it's such a big winner. >> rose: all right. >> starting with the end of the cold war, we've seen these huge megachanges in our economy. and barack obama'sr bteet than bill clinton at some things, he is not better at explaining those changes and saying... sending the signals to people and elites "i get what's going on. i'm going to explain it to you and i'm going to tell you what policies match up with how we're going to be a different kind of economy than your parents lived in." he talks about it, he did a little bit tonight but it's not in a way, i don't think, that
imbues republicans in congress and people in the country at large with a sense of this is the guy we're going to follow on the economy. >> and that's w romney... >> rose: a very good speaker i know said he's very good aspiration not explanation. >> he has this thing. there was... one of the early advisors to bill clinton was a guy named bill gallston who has been on this show, probably. and he used to say the problem with obama was the problem of the missing middle. he has good policies and good inspirational rhetoric but he didn't have the connective tissue to put them together. what clinton was so good at was the connective tissue, explaining how the policies... >> rose: he was never happy explaining policies. >> and he explained exactly the kind of once in a century economic transformation, the birth of a new economy, globalization, information techlogy, that stuff clint was masterful at. obama, though he has tried, sporadically, as andy points out not consistently, not compellingly but sporadically throughout his administration. i still think the problem has been... i said ts on the show before, i sound like a broken record but people have not come out thinking that they understand where barack obama is
on things. this speech, at least, today, had the virtue ofhat clarity and you had this crazy situation in the last two and a half years where people on the left looked at obama and said he's this compromising centrist and people on the right looked at obama and said he's a socialist, a lefty. and that's a bad place to be politically when you near indistinct. >> rose: if you had... i want to open this up to everybody so rather than me addressing the question t anybody in particular. if you had to define where he is politically... i mean in terms of some philoshical definition where would it be? >> well, i think he is a pragmatic progressive. >> rose: right. >> and that's how he fashions himself and he has faced obviously very difficult times. he did, in fact, inhaert big mess and he's right when he points that out. but the thing that makes people craziest about him, i think, is that he believes that compromise is a virtue in and of itself and.... >> rose: and they also believe he's been rolled. >> yes. but liberals get very mad about this when people say well, the president... we talk about the president. the president thinkthere is
inherent virtue in reaching a middle ground and finding a way for people to come together. >> what informs his view along those lines, i think, is that in the times in which we currently live if you pass something like health care with one-party votes only, you can't let it settle into the populace and have people aept it as legitimate public policy. so every challenge we face now: energy, immigration, tax reform, is goingto require vote from both parties and require people trusting each other enough in washington to take risks against their base. that's been the challenge all along. >> rose: but aren't you saying there's nothing the president could have said tonight that would have made a dent with the republicans in the congress? should he have given up... >> i hope not. i think he should have taken up john boehner's suggestion that they get together before the speech andalk about ideas. >> rose: why wod he rethat? >> i can'tnderstand that. >> i seems le he's obvusly setting up the republicans, john boehner, mitt romney, whoever,
as a foil. he's going to run against these guys in 2012. so... any sort of meeting of the minds before that would have really, i think, underqhaut's going to be hi essential argument. i think white house hato be worried his argument is essentially it looks like might end up being i really tried but these guys wouldn't let medo it. >> rose: and you said i can understand why he would not meet with john boehner before he made the speech? >> i think we've gotten to a point where we are in a place where there's a breakdown in lationships and i think he has every reason to believe he would start to tell john boehner what he was thinking about and going to do and the next thing he'd read about in the press releases being blasted before he got a chance to make the whole case. everyone tried to ree.m.t. him in terms of making his case so i think he wanted a clean shot to make his case, i think he made his ca and, again, i think the only chance we have of passing anything is, as we saw, when the president talked abt the
corporate jets and tax breaks we filly got eric cantor to say for the first time "we'll put that in the bill, don't worry about it" because the pressure was on. i think the fact that eric cantor sounded more conciliatory tonight is because people understand the american people are getting pretty tired. they have voted for change once with obama, they didn't think they got it, they voted for change again for the republicans they don't think they got it. it's perilous times and i think his appeal t the american people is the right way to go. >> i mean, there's so much anger out ere and i think it partly speaks to what mark was saying. they agree with president obama on a lot of things but they don't want him to do it because they're so mad. they're mad at everybody. i don't know what direction that willake d i think problem in such a professorial speech-- which i like because i'm a professor-- is you need to connect this emotion. people are mad and if you get them angry at the congress... he's doing that in an intellectual way. here's a good plan. they should pass it. but they're not channeling their anger back at the other side.
>> rose: did you think this was a professorial speech? i thought he was much further away from a professorial speech than he had been and much more like what andy was suggesting a call t saying i've given up, i'm going to make an appeal but this is where i stand and what i believe and i'm going to the country on this. >> it's relative to his other speeches but this isn't one that has you jumped. f.d.r. had people like him, even though everything wasfalling apart around him. >> rose: so you're saying that's what he should have done? >> well... >> rose: more rooseveltian? >> wl,hat's why he's not able to get out and g the people behind him. >> rose: so rogoff doesn't think he went far enough, andy. (laughter) >> well, i mean i think it was important. the points where he talked about... it may be 14 months away to fight this out at the ballot box but the truths 14 months foreople wait.
so the act now, right now, here's a plan, let's do it, works. >> rose: the early reaction speech... i want to come back to this because this is part of the way you are wired into politics. it's not good? >> the president presented the speech explicitly as a bipartisan plan and his definition was based on in the past republicans have supported this. i haven't seen a single republican say a nice thing about the speech. not close. and from the presidential candidates, the republican national committee, many candidates and republican members of congress not... statements that are just absolutely negative and saying we don't need more stimulus, this is a failed progra we tried them before, they didn't work. >> rose: are you listening to the right them? >> i never know. (laughter) >> the flip side the of that coin thougis that liberals have been applauding it. and i don't know whether that makes it good or bad. he's getting a lot of... in the first blush he seems to be getting positive feedback. >> rose: well, we've got one of
them right here standing in good order. >> and i think the key question that none of us monitoring our twitter feeds can tell you is what do actual independent voters in the country, people in the middle of the country, think about this. >> rose: hello? you know some ofhose independents, don't you? >> he's too non-partisan to say. >> the point is not to say what you think but you know and understand and sdy both leadership, b creation as well as whe the center of the country is. sfloo >> the way i see it is in a strange way there is a body of thought that suggests that as esoteric as ken's book is... >> rose: this is a history of economic crisis to the beginning of the planet. >> right. and one of the points ken makes if i can recall reading this book, which is fantastic, is basically there are points where the... >> rose: it's not steven hawking is it? >> no, that i couldn't understand. the deficit could get to such a point that it becomes a burden on growth rates.
now we h a deficit summer and we had a tea party going on two years. it could well be that there are lots of people who have an intuitive understanding, people who make cars and trucks and motorcycles in kansas city who may not have college degrees have a sense about... because they read the paper and it's greece and could it be here. what is this nexus between debt, deficit and growth and these are intuitively... to those of us, i was a professor once. >> rose: i know. from these books... >> you have to study so hard because you're too dumb to get it quick so then you become a professor. but it may be that people who make f-150s in kansas city got this. now, if they got that and then to return to how the president talks to us i have a hunch that one of the differences is bill clinton understood everything. he went to bed and understood everything. he could tell you about it.
it was a great gift. now, when you get to george bush he had had a bad economy. 911 sort of solved it and he didn't have to deal with economics to the end. >> rose: he turned it over to henry paulson. >> right. and barack obama inherits an economy since 1990 that has been producing fewer jobs every year. this is a chronic long-term problem. then it gets really acute. he talks to us. his convincing rhett vic, look, i'm very empathetic. he said it tonight. talk about these companies... these families, talk about these families, talk about teachers out of work. he is at the high, high end of people think and i think in a sense he hopes the emphy will carry this through. if you put that in the context of people who are intuitively beginning to understand ken rogoff there cod be a profound disconnect here.
it may be one of the reasons why romney's 59-point pla.. i don't have a sense of this, if it was well accepted or well received maybe because people are ready for it. >> i think what we saw tonight was the beginning of the... as i said at the very beginning the president in campaign mode. i think there was a recognition that nothing that was large enough to actually move the needle on the macroeconomy was ever going to get through this congress and so the president is now laying out the broad themes and contrasts that he wants to play for the next 14 months in that empathy is not going to be the way the president wins reelection. i think the way the president wins reelection is he's going to have to run a campaign based on very tough contrasts, making the election not into a referendum on his leadership but a choice and rendering either rick perry or mitt romney unacceptable in the eyes of the american voters. that's his path to reelection and the contrast is starting today. >> there's another shoe coming to drop here, which the president mentioned tonight, which is his deficit reduction plan.
like tonight's speech i would stayhe president says in his deficit reduction speech the things he and john boehner were discussing privately andy wouldn't likit so much. he's going to call for cuts in social security, medicare and medicaid. if he goes through with what i suspect he'll do. >> rose: he suggest that tonight. he said there are a lot of thgs i'm goingdo that my party doesn't like. >> but thas going to scramble what we're talking about tonig because on that score republicans are going to have a different calculation of how to react and there will be much more part of unhappiness on the part of nancy pelosi. >> rose: let me make this point. it seems to me that this president has aays been i a sense as often said a politician, a pragmatist and essentially a cenist and part of this speech tonight was to define himself and get identified on the sense of sort of america and make sure that he was in favor of, the argument about regulation. he understood the argument about american decline.
he understood the argument he wanted to sell forward. he was america first. i want to sell fords in south korea, i want to play on a level playing field. i want to make sure that we appeal to the essential american fairness about paying your equal share, that kind of thing. it was important for him to speak to the country and say this is who i am, this is what i believe in and don't let other people define me because i know there's a sense that i am too compromising and that i am one thing or the other and if, in fact, you are defined by other people, you are in trouble. >> i think he also laid out his idea that government has a role in people's lives. >> rose: exactly. >> that was near the very top of the speech and i think a lot of people on the left have been waiting for them to do that. he also laid out all of these other ideas that are throughout about regulation. we saw him make that move with the e.p.a. rolling back some of those regulations so yeah this
was an important moment for him. i do think we could be in a post-bully pulpit era meaning that barack obama might not be the best bully we know he is more of a compmiser but i don't think that presidential speeches are any longer sort of appointment t.v. and that people sit around and watch them in the way they did when reagan was president or even when clinton was president because there is just... there's a divided media and people watch this speech and if you like president obama going in you probably liked him a lile more after you hed this speech and if you dn't like him, if you thought he was a big-spending liberal, than everything he said probably only confirmed that with this already 447 billion price tag on all of these programs that people think is really just... some people at least think are the overreaching hand of government in people's lives. >> i just think what's key here is that consistency. we always try to put too much
responsibility on a single speech and i think what we need to see now for this administration because it has been lacking this is the fifth pivot to jobs. but if they lose focus on this issue and three months from now we're talking about a series of other issues, i think whole speech and this whole effort is really going to be hurt. >> rose: andhe chances of reelection have decreased significantly, although there's always a factor of who you're running agains correct, andy? >> yeah. i mean, i think you build momentum up and in a world that is said has lots of different media, it's why reinforcement and reinforcement and reinforcement-- which the republicans do incredibly well-- needs to be done here. i think i probably won't like his speech on social security and medicare but at least i'll say-- as bill clinton used to say-- i'd rather have him be strong and wrong than weak and right. and he was strong tonight. >> rose: did he consult you on the speech, an economy? >> no. >> rose: he did snot did you try
to have an input on it? >> i've been making very clear for a long time that i think this issue with jobs and a sees of proposals that i've been talking about for a while now, many of them here including unknown ones we haven't talked about like the job-sharing proposal which has helped a lot in germany keep people on their jo are things included in this package. there's lots of goo things here >> rose: let me talk about the republican debate before we get out of here. what was your con consensus in terms of what it proved? >> it prove what we all suggested, it's a two-person race. >> rose: and social security may be the issue within the republican party. >> and that mitt romney is tougher and more prepared to take on another megandidate than we might have thought and that rick perry in his first presidential debate showed he is someone who plausibly can come in so late with so little planning and just get on the stage. >> rose: it wasn't that he looked like he was out of his
element it was because when you've rain book like he has he offers up opportunity. >> rose: romney still has the problem of he doesn't connect with most of the republican constituencys and he signed a universal health care law in massachusetts as an individual mandate. that compared to social security within the republican party may not be romney's favor in the end. >> rose: and when he says that he would dismantle the obama health care proposal does that help with what he did in massachusetts? >> i think that's their theory. my main take away from that is that no one can tell you who's going to win the fight between those two guys. it's impossible to know right now. and to even state a preference is to disregard the fact that there are way too many variable who will vote en be terms of the calendar schedule. how much money will perry raise? how will he handle himself over time? a lot of vary yablgs out there. >> and there's something deeper which is the reason why mark is totally right because the truth is none of us know the answer to
one of the most fundamental questions in the american politics which is whatis the republican party snowed if the tea party fused with the evangelical movement is really... that is what the core of the republican party is an there's evidence that that's the case, rick perly win the republican nomination. and if enough of the vestigial republican party, the older establishment republican party, if that remains-- though it's much quieter now--. >> rose: the main street republican party? >> if that remains the center of gravity firm will win the republican party. but we'll find out. this race is so interesting because now we have two credible exemplars of those two strains of republicanism before all of the tea party evan jell an candidates were so flawed they could never have been the nominee let alone president. now in rick perry off pure dysnation ofhat impulse and a very credible caidat who can go against bhirpl is a pure dysnation of a different kind of republicanism. also a very credibl candidate and we can see them fight it out and we will then know what the g.o.p. of 2012...2011 is.
>> rose: i know what my guess is. go ahead. >> no, i i find very discouraging what polies we're going to see coming out of this. we're in the worst recession since world war ii, whatever you want to call it. there doesn't seem to be any consensus in t country about what to do and i'm certainly left very discouraged watching the landscape >> rose: we won't have a healthy debate on the economy coming into this sglex >> no, no. i don't know what's coming afterwards. >> rose: so with respect to the republican debate and with respect to... >> charlie i w wring a paper on job creation last night, i didn't see the debate. (laughter) >> rose: okay. so, we'll take that moment because that's one of the reasons we wanted you here this evening. so the president calls you up and says listen, i've stated where i am but maybe i missed something. what did i snisz what would you say? >> i'd go back to what i said before. mr. president, the empirical evidence is overwhelming, we
need entrepreneurs to create the jobs. there's a difficulty in terms of new firms starting to fall off in terms of the number of people they employ. they have to do some stuff which government can do at very little cost to help new firms encourage them. >> rose: do youhink the president gets that? >> my guess is he would. he understands the... he reads what... i think he does. i'm part of a start up america partrship that the president put together but i think problem in washington... charlie, the president spoke tonight about all business and every member on both sides, if you ask him about this question of entrepreneurship, this is my job you talked with him and half of them say yeah, i understand small business and the other half say i understand venture capital. they don't understand business starts and they don't understand entrepreneurship. inarge measure economis don't understand it. this is really fundamental to the creation of the economy
and it's sad tt people don't. but i think probably what happened is that while the president understands it one level, the enormity of the general electrics, the general motorss, the chryslers with this huge employment... >> rose: the apples. >> they just are a huge gravitational force that has to take your policy focus over there. >> rose: andy, do you agree that? job creation? >> i mean, i do believe that we are way too focused on large corporations. they're not american corporations anymore, they're multinational. they have fferent sets of responsibilities. they've shed basically two milln jobs over the last decade. i do think we have not done a good job. we have to allow everyday americans who want entrepreneurship. and i think what's scary about the republican debate was the fact ithis. we have a different economy. this is the third economic revolution and what andy grove
from intel said was this idea that we're fighting a fixed plan... fixed mmunist economy, this is a battle between the free market and planned economy we now have a new for. it's called brazil, singapore, china, where we have nations that see themselves as teams and teams that have economic plans. our market fundamentalism is exactly the wrong medicine right now and that's what we saw in the debate in the republican party and that is going to kill the american economy in the long run. >> rose: you watched it last night? >> yeah. i pretty much agree mark and john. we know it's two-man race. obviously romney and perry there. romney is going to make the case he's aurnaround artist. the first sort of candidate c.e.o. and i think perry really is going to really double down. we've seen dhipl that in social security not clear whether or not he's left himself room to come iand say well, maybe it is a ponzi scheme but here's how we can reform it. i thought mitt romney probably
had his best best moment when he stepped in with the question of the h.p.v. vaccine he had an opportunity to pilon on perry and really sort of condemn his decision making on that but he sort of held back and said, listen, he did what he thought was right then and we can all sort of use a mulligan. so i thought that was a real statesman like mome for him. i think challenge for perry is going to be picking which fights he wants to pick and mak he's obviously going to be the fighter here. he's a bruiser when it comes to this. you saw him picking fights with paul but i think he will have to decide how many fights he'll pick because at some point risks coming off as petty if he's picking so many fights with karl rove to social security and ron paul. i think south is going to be really important here. we don't know what the calendar is going to look like in terms of those primary because lot of southern states are going to be going early on supertuesday. i think romney, his team
strategy, a, they think this will make... it will make it a mination worth having. perry would be obviously a very formidable opponent for him. it would make him that much stronger in the general and i think one of the things they'll try do is make him a regional candidate. >> i'll tell you something else you heard last night. if mitt romney is the nominee, thisill be... this is a very important mome. when romney made that... framed his critique of president obama "he's a good man, he's had his chance, what he tried hasn't worked, it's time for something new. dwhats is a powerful and potentially winning meage and it's the message the white house fears in the reelection... fears most not an angry message, not a demonizing message but he inherited a mess, we had four years, he doesn't understand the economy very well, we have to try a different path. that to the middle of the country will sound... you will hear a lot of of that and it could be effective. >> rose: does electability as an
argument work for romney is >> it does right now elites. a lot of elites in the republican party who were lukewarm about romney. me of them have gone over to him because they think perry is manifestly unelectable. will it work with the wider population? we'll see. the polling as perry has moved up within... amongst republicans he now is roughly at perry, not quite adds perry but roughly at perry with romney head to head against the president. it's going to be interesting to see. once television advertising starts from the candidates and these superpacs it will be interesting to see. if perry is doing better in head-to-head polling than romney it will be hard for people to say well, he's not electable. >> rose: andy, wade in on the economy before we go. >> i think we're at a very different moment of time. our political system is hurting finding solutions not helping
them. and again in this moment of history countries are teams and we have a dysfunctional team competing in this world economy with different philosophies and in the end the american people will pay the price if we can't find a way forwa. >> rose: thank you very much. thank you, john, thank you mark. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org